Tag Archive | Abba’s House

A Season of Thanks

“‘Tis the season.”

When we hear that phrase, our minds are usually drawn to images of Christmas trees, Santa Claus, gifts, and nativity scenes. In all fairness, this is reasonable, considering that the phrase comes from the Christmas favorite, “Deck The Halls”…

Deck the halls with boughs of holly
Fa-la-la-la-la La la-la-la
‘Tis the season to be jolly
Fa-la-la-la-la La la-la-la

For most of us, the jump to Christmas seems to come about the time the last piece of candy is handed out on October 31st. We can’t wait to deck the halls, don our Christmas sweaters and mittens, and break out the egg nog and Bing Crosby records.

Yet, in the shuffle from the ghouls and goblins Halloween to the wonder and worship of Christmas, something tends to get overlooked in the process.

Thankfulness.

thanksgiving cornucopiaSure, we recognize Thanksgiving – the Day. We meet with family and friends, stuff ourselves with turkey and dressing, and watch football for hours on end, but do we really get a hold of the meaning of the season that we have relegated to a single day? A time of thanks for the blessings bestowed upon us by a loving and merciful God. A season of reflection and gratefulness for life in its various forms, trials, and triumphs. To me, the season of Thanksgiving is the perfect and logical precursor to the season of Christmas — of thankfulness and gratitude for the love of a Holy God that took the human form of a baby in a manger.

So with the mess the world is in, what have we to be thankful for? I can only speak for myself, but here are just a few…

  • I’m thankful for my family; for a faithful wife of many years, wonderful children, and for our beautiful and healthy grandchildren. I’m thankful for the heritage of my Godly parents, and my extended family, scattered around this country.
  • I’m thankful for my church family, who I have been blessed to shepherd these past 38 years. I’m thankful for the friendships I’ve made, for the things — good and bad — we have gone through together, for the team we have built for to share the Gospel all over the world, and for faithful friends who, through service and sacrifice, make it possible for us to do what we do.
  • I’m thankful for this season of life as I transition into a new role, and watch the next generation at Abba’s House (under the leadership of my son, Pastor Ronnie Phillips, Jr.) move into a promising future.
  • I’m thankful I live in a country where I am free to worship the God from Whom all blessings flow.
  • I’m thankful for you, the person reading this right now. I’m thankful for allowing me into your life and home by way of this blog, so that we can be an encouragement to each other, even though we may never meet face to face.
  • But most of all…

  • I’m thankful for an Abba Father who has saved me and blessed me in so many ways, and molded my life in such a fashion that I have the opportunity to be thankful for all of these things.

Maybe you are having a tough time thinking of things to be thankful for. Maybe your life hasn’t worked out quite the way you planned. Maybe, through no fault of your own, your circumstances have not offered you the promise you thought your life would bring.

Well friend, as long as you are taking another breath, there is hope for a better future. As long as your heart is beating, there is a God who is listening to the cry of your heart. I can’t say how things will work out for you, but I can say this with confidence…

As long as there is breath in your lungs, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, you have a reason to give thanks.

I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. ~ Phil. 1:3-6

From our family to yours… Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Pastor Ron

Blessing Israel

Israeli Flag 1

 

I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. ~ Ezekiel 34:13 (NIV)

The month of November is a time of significance for the nation of Israel.

Balfour declaration unmarked.jpg

The Balfour Declaration, contained within the original letter from Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour to Lord Rothschild.

The anniversaries of two historical events in the founding of the modern State of Israel and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy are remembered in this month of November…

 

  • November 2 marked the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration – the British commitment to the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
  • November 29 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Partition Plan, a resolution to divide Palestine into two states, one Jewish and one Arab.

Because these two anniversaries are so significant, I believe we can (and should) associate the entire month of November with the founding of the State of Israel. I believe that honoring Israel as not just a great ally of the United States of America, but also as God’s chosen people is something we should take seriously, participate in diligently, and teach our children and grandchildren to do the same. There is no “statute of limitations” with regard to how we treat Israel, and the promises of God, which are “yes and amen”, are as good today as they were thousands of years ago when He gave this promise to Abraham…

I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
~ Genesis 12:3

So let’s all commit to take some time today, and for the rest of the month, and pray for the prosperity, peace, and blessing of Israel, recognizing that proper alignment with Israel, as individuals and as a nation, holds promise for the future.

Praying for the peace of Jerusalem,
Pastor Ron

Come Before Winter

This has been a year of transition for me, as I move into more of an apostolic role in the life of Abba’s House, and watch the next generation take their place, led by Dr. Ronnie Phillips, Jr. as Senior Pastor, to move this ministry into the future. I’m excited to see what God is doing through our new leadership, and I look forward to my new role of traveling  and ministering to pastors and churches around the nation, speaking into their lives God’s goodness, grace, and truth.

This coming Sunday, I will be delivering a message I last preached many years ago called Come Before Winter. I would like to invite you to join me at Abba’s House on November 5 at 10:30am, and bring an unsaved friend.

Here is my personal invitation to you…

What Difference Will It Make?

Warrior 2Legacy.

We hear that word a lot. From pastors and preachers to politicians and presidents, people want to know what difference they’ve made in the world. The legacy of a good person may be filled with multiple success stories and many lives changed for the better, with the positive effects of that life evident for generations to come (ie: Mother Teresa, Winston Churchill, Jonas Salk, etc.). Other, more notorious, historical figures leave a legacy of pain, destruction, and sorrow in their wake (ie: Adolph Hitler, Pol Pot, Josef Stalin, etc).

It reminds me of a quote from the movie Gladiator. General Maximus was speaking to his troops when he said…

“What we do in life echoes through eternity.”

To put it another way, I like these words the unlikely angel Clarence Odbody said to George Bailey in the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life…

Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives.
When he isn’t around, he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?

Throughout the Bible, we are encouraged to leave a Godly legacy…

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous. ~ Proverbs 13:22

One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts. ~ Psalms 145:4

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your strength.
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them
when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way,
when you lie down, and when you rise up. ~ Deut. 6:5-7

GB1

So maybe you are thinking, “What I do doesn’t matter.” If that is your thought, then I urge you to consider…

Edward Kimball.

In the 1850’s, while living in Massachusetts, Edward taught a Sunday school class of teenage boys (no easy feat, to be sure). While visiting a shoe store, he led a young clerk to faith in Christ — a young clerk named…

Dwight L. Moody.

Image result for D L MoodyD. L. Moody became a world-changing evangelist. During the Civil War, he ministered to both Union and Confederate soldiers. As founder of the Moody Church and the Moody Bible Institute, his voice and message were heard throughout the nineteenth-century world, in particular by…

Frederick Meyer.

Frederick (F.B.) was mentored by Moody, and went on to have his own nation-wide ministry; a ministry that touched the life of…

J. Wilbur Chapman.

Wilbur was a college student when he accepted Christ at a Meyer meeting. He became a world-renowned evangelist, preaching all over the world; extensively throughout Asia and Australia, and all over the United States. One of his meetings was attended by a young professional baseball player named…

Image result for Billy SundayBilly Sunday.

Billy’s life was changed at that Chapman meeting. He accepted the love of Jesus, and began preaching the Gospel across America. This former baseball-player-turned-fiery-evangelist preached to over 100 million people, not the least of whom was…

Mordecai Ham.

Saved under the ministry of Billy Sunday, Mordecai Ham saw over 300,000 people make professions of faith during his ministry. In November of 1934, Ham preached a crusade in Charlotte, NC. During one of the meetings, a young, lanky fellow by the name of Billy Frank accepted Christ as his Savior. Billy Frank went on to be a minister of the Gospel, preaching to an estimated 2.2 billion people across the globe. While some people in the Charlotte area knew him as Billy Frank, the rest of the world knows him better as…

Billy Graham bw photo, April 11, 1966.jpgBilly Graham.

The ministry of these men, whose ministries combined have seen billions come to faith in Christ, all started because a man named Edward Kimball allowed himself to be used by God to teach Sunday School to a group of rowdy teenage boys in Massachusetts.

So who are you reaching out to with your life? How are you being salt and light in a world that so desperately needs good influences? What kind word or witness can you share today with one person that may affect hundreds (or thousands) in years to come?

Really, you are the only one who can answer those questions. Maybe the idea that you could influence masses of people scares the daylights out of you. If so, just remember this little secret…

Don’t go about it trying to change the world. Just determine to influence one life at a time, and let God do the rest.

So, what difference will it make?

Time will tell, and Heaven will testify.

Breaking Free from the Dungeon of Depression

Fear4Depression.

In 21st century America, we hear that word every day. While depression takes on a variety of forms, a “blanket” definition would be…

“the state of being depressed–a feeling of let down, of hopelessness.”

It can affect the body. It can cause an overwhelming sense of fatigue to come upon a person. In fact, there are studies that indicate that many psychological neuroses, as well as some fatigue diseases, are the results of living with depression.

A permanent cure for depression?

Is there such a thing? Statistics show that multitudes of Americans are hoping for the quick cure. In 2001, it was estimated that 28 million Americans were taking anti-depressants. In 2016, studies suggest that one in six Americans are on some kind of psychiatric drug, a figure nearly double the 2001 number.

When Jesus began His ministry, His very first sermon included a quote from Isaiah 61…

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. 
~ Luke 4:18-19

In Isaiah 61 (the original passage Jesus quoted), He goes on to say…

“… And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”

The Bible doesn’t call it depression. The Bible calls it the spirit of heaviness. There is a demon involved here. David called it “being cast down.” Depression is a state of mourning in your life, a state of heaviness over circumstances. You are under the circumstances of your life. A great many things can open your life to the spirit of depression; circumstances, illness, negative and unhealthy thought patterns, bad (sinful) habits, rejection, death and loss, lack of direction, failure, and loss of passion for God can all be contributing factors that allow the enemy to gain access to your mind. The symptoms of depression as as varied as the causes; feelings of panic, unrelenting dissatisfaction,  unstable emotions, oppression, and feelings of being overwhelmed or forgotten are all signs that you are heading down a dark and lonely road of depression.

So how do you hit the brakes? How do you recover when depression has you bound up? What can put you on the path to positive spiritual and mental health?

In order to be healed from depression, you must experience a fresh work of the Holy Spirit in your life! Isaiah 61 (then again in Luke 4) tells how Jesus would come to the depressed, enslaved, and the broken…

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord anointed Me….”

Jesus came with an anointing, a yoke-breaking, depression-crushing, life-giving, freedom-announcing anointing. All you need to do is ask Him for it. Then ask for a fresh word from the Lord. He says, “I’ve come to proclaim. I’ve come with a word.” He is our help and our salvation!

The third thing you need is a fresh worship offering to God.

“Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. ~ Hebrews 13:15 (NKJV)

Remember Jesus says to, “Put on a garment of praise.” Don’t be afraid to let God do something different in your worship life.

You say, “Well, Brother Ron, I just praise Him in my heart.”

I can guarantee that when you get up tomorrow morning at 6 a.m., no matter how tired you are, you will get dressed for work. You can’t walk into your workplace with no clothes on, saying, “I didn’t feel like getting dressed; I thought I’d just skip that today.” God said, “I’ll give you a garment of praise.” You put on a garment whether you feel like it or not. Your heart may be heavy. You may have been through some painful stuff, but shout to the Lord anyway.

The devil can’t take away the blood of the cross. Satan can’t take away the resurrection of Jesus. He can’t take away your salvation. Proclaim along with Job…

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…”
~ Job 13:15a  (NKJV)

“For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth”
~ Job 19:25 (NKJV)

This devil of depression must be rooted out, or its impact will be devastating. If the depressed father doesn’t take these steps to overcome it, it could take his wife and it could take his children. Grandmother, it could take your grandchildren. You had better get rid of it.

I used to have to fight this spirit of depression every Christmas. Because of difficulties in my youth and the memories that would flood me, I feel myself begin to withdraw even as my children and friends around me were celebrating Jesus’ coming. God has used my kids to pull me out of this seasonal attack of depression.

Demons can’t possess Christians, but they can obsess, compress, and depress you. They can live in you like a rat or a cockroach. You have to drive them out. I didn’t get rid of them by telling them, “Well, I’m just so sorry you’re here.”  I just told them where to go. “Get out of my life, heaviness!”  And by the power and blood of Jesus, those spirits must flee!

~ Adapted from my book
Everyone’s Guide to Demons and Spiritual Warfare
Copyright © 2010 Ron Phillips
Published by Charisma House Book Group

Worship

When Truth Remains…

Las Vegas

Over three years ago, following the Boston Marathon attack that killed and injured our fellow citizens, I shared the following blog with you, my friends here in cyber-space. As I thought about the events of this week in Las Vegas, and the horrific pain, terror, and heartache inflicted by one man, these words came back to mind. Fear is a formidable foe, which takes on many forms — as many as there are evil designs in the minds of twisted men. But we are a resilient people, and at times such as these, we experience our nation’s Foundation of Faith holding us up, comforting us, and keeping us from being consumed and buried in the ashes of such tragedy.

However, truth is truth. Whether 9-11, Boston, Chattanooga, San Bernardino, or Las Vegas, the truth about how we respond in such times, and where we need to go from here, remains the same…

“God is our refuge and strength,
a very present help in trouble.” ~ Psalm 46:1

Our prayers continue for the families of the victims, for those injured, for the people of Las Vegas, and for a nation in mourning.

No Fear

After following the news in the wake of this week’s terror attack, it is obvious and understandable that emotions in our nation are running the gamut.

We are saddened by the physical and emotional pain that our friends and fellow Americans are facing as a result of those killed and injured. Our prayers for healing and comfort go out to the victims and their families during this time…

We are angry that someone had the audacity to commit this heinous crime…

We are confused as to why and how this could have happened. Who committed this act? Why did they do it? As our fine law enforcement officials investigate, we believe that answers will be forthcoming.

We are afraid. Many people in our nation are now living in fear on a variety of levels:

People are in fear that it could happen again.

Witnesses may face fear from the memories of that horrific day.

Victims are fearful of moving forward into a future of uncertainty.

Terror, by it’s very definition, is about eliciting a fear response. Terror means “extreme fear”. Terrorism is not simply about killing and wounding innocent men, women, and children; it is about inciting fear in those who remain, and causing people to live in fear.

The problem we face is that fear (terror) is a vicious cycle. Fear is a magnet to demons. The more we discuss and voice our fear with our lips, the more demons are attracted to the atmosphere of fear. Fear is more than emotion… fear is a spirit. 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that…

God has not not given us a spirit of fear,
but of power and of love and of a sound mind
“.

In the Bible, Job was considered a righteous man. However, Job had a fatal flaw. In Job 3:25, Job confesses:

“For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me,
and what I dreaded has happened to me.”

Job feared the loss of his children and his treasures, and Satan was drawn to that fear. And while we may think that fear is an unavoidable part of life, living in fear is an existence that we do not have to settle for. 1 John 4:18 tells us that “perfect love casts out fear“, and in Proverbs 29:25, we have this promise:

The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD shall be safe.

Abraham Lincoln is arguably the greatest president our country has ever seen. However, history bears out that he lost every single election he ran until he ran for president. What if he had allowed fear from past experiences to convince him to quit? How different would our country look today.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela once said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” For the believer in Jesus Christ, the opposite of fear is more than courage… it is faith and hope.

For those of you that watch my television program, Ron Phillips from Abba’s House, you are familiar with my co-host, Angie McGregor. What many of you may not realize is that Angie is a gifted songwriter and singer. Several years ago, in the immediate shadow of 9/11, Angie released a song that resonates today. Having faced down some fear in her own life, she penned the song simply titled, I Will Not Fear. After the events of 9/11, this song took on a whole new meaning for all of us that heard it.

— from the CD Could We Dance? ©Copyright 2002 FacePlace Music

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. ~ II Corinthians 1:3-5

Why I Stand

Flag 2

With all of the controversy surrounding the NFL, the National Anthem, and Old Glory, I just wanted to share a few thoughts why I, personally, choose to stand.

I stand…

… because our flag, Old Glory, is the symbol of the United States of America, the land I love and the nation of which I am proud to be a citizen. To do otherwise, for me, would be to not only disrespect our nation, but to dishonor God by showing a lack of appreciation for His good and perfect gifts that He has afforded me because I am an American.

I stand… when The Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem, plays because that is a show of respect for the flag that it so eloquently describes, and a show of unity with my fellow citizens. Even when we may disagree about sports, politics, religion, etc., when the words “O say can you see…” are heard, we become silent and unified in our mutual respect for the flag, the anthem, and all that it symbolizes.

I stand… because of fifty-six men from all walks of life who, in putting their signatures on a parchment known as The Declaration of Independence, knew they were putting their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor on the line in the name of freedom. These men were as flawed and imperfect as the rest of us, but found the courage to stand for an ideal greater than themselves.

I stand… because I want to be an example to future generations that we are more than a collection of individuals, each going their own direction.

Flag FoldedI stand… because from the streets of Lexington and Concord to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq, for over 240 years, brave men and women have given their last full measure of devotion to secure the freedom the rest of us enjoy on a daily basis. I stand, saluting an unfurled flag because of all of the wives, mothers, fathers, husbands, and family members who have been handed a folded one.

I stand… because standing is a universal sign of honor and respect.

I stand… because I believe that our battle is not against flesh and blood, and that we can accomplish more through the power of prayer than through hollow protests.

I stand… because we are better when we operate in unity, as “one nation under God, indivisible…” As a Christian, I believe the truth expressed by the psalmist who said,

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity! ~ Psalm 133:1

I stand… because our flag and national anthem symbolize what is right with our country, not what is wrong with it.

I stand… because there are other countries where people are poor and oppressed beyond measure, and are looking to America to be an example — The shining city on a hill.

I stand… because I am the recipient of a grace that has been granted to me in the form of a life in a free country called America.

I stand… not because we are perfect and have it all together, but as a sign that I am willing to take my place — standing beside you — working together to make America a better place.

I stand… to show that I am up on my feet and ready to go; to be a part of the solution, not a symptom of the problem.

I stand… because I am grateful.

Flag 3O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

                                                      ~ Katharine Lee Bates